It looked an absolute recipe for disaster … potjiekos at Nico Rheeder’s house the night before the Wellington Sixes. It was only ever going to end one way – or was it?
On Saturday, January 29, Nico, Nicky Rheeder, Ryan Cooper, Neville Cooper, Hannes Engelbrecht, Hannes Carlson and Cornell Keulder descended on the winelands, not overly confident of a positive result after a heavy, heavy night which saw most of us get into bed as the sun was coming up.
In fact, waking up at 9h30 to be in Wellington at 11am was probably not the wisest idea – and as it turned out, our two sober teammates, Nev and Casper, were the only ones on the field … 15 minutes after we were meant to start.
However, some great salesmanship by the two ensured we were not chucked out of the competition, and we set about our task of improving on our best-ever finish in the tournament; a semifinal spot two years ago.
And it all started well enough – Neville finding form from the word go to propel the Rollers to 83 in five overs – with Nev finishing on an incredible 60 not out from only 19 balls.
From there the result was never in doubt, despite a shocking catching performance from Ryan and Nicky – both still suffering from the night before’s antics.
So a comfortable win saw us into the main draw, but it would be a whole two hours before the next game. Now in years gone by this is where the Rollers fell flat – rocking up stone-cold sober and drinking throughout the super hot day, only to be man-down come the latter rounds.
But this year it was the other way around – arrive in not the greatest state and sober up through the day. And the best call in aid of this was from our captain on the day Haas, who suggested we drink Black Label beer shandy. Not quite Rollers style, but visionary nonetheless.
By the time the second game came around we were in much better shape, and an incredible bowling and fielding exercise meant we chased only 26 for victory, which Ryan and Nicky knocked off in 10 balls. As one of the opposition said while walking off: “Fok, ek’s nog nie eers dors nie.”
The semifinals pitted us against the hosts and defending champions, who had looked ominous in their previous match. Batting first the Rollers could only muster 62 – seemingly not enough against the big-hitting boere. But it all looked in the bag by the start of the final over – Wellington needing 30 to win.
However, Neville had other ideas – bowling two wides en route to 28 runs in the over. So the Rollers won by one run … this after Neville tuned Casper after the second (legitimate) ball of the over: “We have this one in the bag.”
So on to the Final the Rollers marched, up against the Mix Men from Lord knows where. Haas, with ‘a tumour in my fokken kop’, sat out the match as we once again took first strike. And once again the result was mediocre – 55 against a very strong team.
But once more the fielding and bowling was something to behold, perfectly illustrated by Slang’s lung-busting 40-metre run on the extra-cover boundary and massive slide. The Rollers had a stranglehold on the batsmen from the word go and when Nicky bowled the big-hitting Theuns Stofberg (after he had knocked the windscreen out of a Pajero the previous ball) in the final over, the game and trophy was ours.
The Rollers were like youngsters after their first pomp at the post-match pleasantries, which included some great prizes. Even the girlfriends cleaned up as Angela won the raffle – some fancy-dan bottle of wine.
Neville was rightfully named the batsman of the tournament after keeping us competitive throughout, but the bowling and incredible fielding was ultimately what pulled us through.
So a great day throughout and, suffice to say, some good celebrations afterwards as the Rollers once against closed the bar.